It was a rough weekend for Tony Dungy. First, Outsports published two pieces highlighting the NFL Hall of Famer’s long history of anti-LGBTQ statements, pushing his hostility towards gay rights back to the forefront.
While we’ve covered Dungy’s anti-gay viewpoints for years, this series hit differently. Our stories went viral, prompting The Advocate to publish its own searing op-ed, “Tony Dungy and When Someone You Admire Turns Out to Be a Homophobe.”
"When people who respect and admire Dungy, particularly young people, read what he says and who he prays and pals around with, they can only assume that it’s OK to hate us." @johntcaseyjr https://t.co/H6JvSvYmu9— The Advocate (@TheAdvocateMag) January 14, 2023
Then on Saturday night, Dungy was in the booth for NBC’s telecast of Chargers-Jaguars. It was an all-time classic: the Jaguars stormed back from a 27-point deficit and pulled off the third-largest comeback win in NFL playoff history.
Unfortunately, Dungy called the affair with the enthusiasm level of somebody going in for a colonoscopy.
Throughout the second half, the Jaguars kept making big plays: star sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence delivered three touchdown passes, running back Travis Etienne broke free on 4th-and-1 for a 25-yard run late in the fourth quarter, kicker Riley Patterson nailed the game-winning field goal as time expired.
And yet, Al Michaels and Dungy seemed completely detached from the action. Michaels didn’t even raise his voice when Patterson hit his 36-yarder.
“Here we go. For the win … there’s a flag down as everyone is running out onto the field,” said Michaels.
Can you feel the excitement?!
Great Jaguars comeback or amazing Chargers choke? Yes. pic.twitter.com/QuQYArRfjd— The Comeback (@thecomeback) January 15, 2023
another Al Michaels unenthused call....dude....it's 4th and 1 with the GAME ON THE LINE!!! https://t.co/gijOZqbnau— Goldglover9 (GG9) (@goldglover9) January 15, 2023
Michaels’ lifeless performance was surprising. Despite calling a wretched slate of “Thursday Night Football” games this season — and sounding miserable the entire time — he’s arguably the greatest sports broadcaster ever. It’s staggering that he wasn't up for the job.
But Dungy’s dry banalities are par for the course. His work as an analyst has always been forgettable — outside of when he’s criticizing male athletes for publicly coming out as gay, such as Jason Collins and Michael Sam.
On Saturday, Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson put on a coaching clinic. Ostensibly, as a Super Bowl-winning head coach, Dungy should be an expert when it comes to breaking down X’s and O’s. It would’ve been interesting to hear him talk about how Jacksonville was exploiting the Chargers’ stout defense over the final 15 minutes.
But that never happened. Instead, Dungy droned on about nothing.
His effort was widely eviscerated.
Tony Dungy is too circumspect to call games. He and Michaels should be losing their minds right now and they’re calling it like a golf tournament— David Gardner (@byDavidGardner) January 15, 2023
It’s truly incredible that someone important at NBC thinks Tony Dungy should be calling this game.— Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13) January 15, 2023
I’d love to hear an explanation because there’s not a single time he’s added to a conversation or engaged in any meaningful dialogue.
Tony Dungy on the call is verbal Ambien man I’m sorry— Kofie (@Kofie) January 15, 2023
Tony Dungy told a story on the broadcast last night about Joe Lombardi learning football from his grandpa Vince. I’m almost sure that story is impossible/never happened. Mainly because Joe Lombardi was born almost a year after Vince died.— Spreadapedia (@Spreadapedia) January 15, 2023
Congratulations to Al Michaels and Tony Dungy for sucking the entire drama out of that field goal kick— John Barchard (@JohnBarchard) January 15, 2023
i’m really struck at just how dry al michaels and tony dungy are now after witnessing a team come back from a 27-0 deficit to win a playoff game. viewers cheated, man.— mike taddow (@MikeTaddow) January 15, 2023
On an Outsports Twitter poll this week, 88 percent of respondents said they find it “painful” to listen to a vehement anti-LGBTQ voice calling NFL playoff games.
Judging by the reaction to Dungy’s performance Saturday, the masses agree.